I seem to be having another problem… : )
First of all, I need at least a consultation or something with a
Posted In: Young Harpists
It sounds to me like it is not how you are pulling your finger back. I typically don’t bend much at all. I pull my fingers flat in to the palms as much as possible, and this works well for me.
I think it is most likely more an issue with the hand position, and the angle at which your fingers are contacting the strings.
Really there is no way to tell without seeing. You can try angling your fingers down a bit and see if that helps, but you really need someone who can watch what you are doing and see first hand.
If you can get a copy of Fun From The First vol. I there are a couple of really good photos of good hand position in there that I used to use as a reference when I was first learning to make sure I was keeping good hand position.
Nancy Lendrim in Toledo is an excellent teacher. You should call her for at least a referral. She is in the Toledo Symphony. There are tons of harpists in Ohio. Have you checked the teacher directories of the American Harp Society and the Harp Connection?
Let me see if I can help you. I do not want to reiterate what others have said regarding finding a teacher;so at this point I hope that you have found one or are closer to doing so. A teacher will accelerate an already difficult process and take much frustration out of it and once you do find one, I urge you to get as much technique done as you can; Deborah Friou’s book is very fun, it will give you great agility in your hands and you will start getting “harpy fingers” within a few weeks of serious practice. It will also help with reading. Follow the order of the book in the beginning because it introduces the various fingers gradually. You may find that you should go back and re-practice simple exercises if you need to relearn new position.
I would like to comment on the “unlearning” bad habits concept though; I agree that it takes alot of work to unlearn the incorrect position, but there is a positive side to the fact that you know what “wrong looks like”..you’re familiar with it, so you’ll be quick to detect it and feel it if you slip back, at least this my experience.I also take notes during the lesson; you will find the teacher is making more than one change at once and it can really be overwhelming to try to fix them all together..write notes of what she wants position-wise and work on them gradually. I used to put up little signs so that visually it is right infront of me. Doing things slowly lets the mind and hands to work together better, never underestimate the virtues of sloooooow). It can only get easier, everytime it will get easier. I would advise that you take time to change a habit slowly. Do the same exercises you did before but much slower, reteach your fingers to accept the new normal..and very soon you will unlearn any bad habits. Teachers tend to get exasperated when we pick up bad habits because it comes back to haunt them, and us, for a long time. Still, you are obviously trying very hard to get good position on your own initiative and learning the harp without basic resources such as a teacher is a challenge.So definately keep trying. I am a beginner myself and I’m blessed with a teacher from heaven, so here are some words from one struggling beginner to another regarding your slippage problem(my teacher uses a method that is a combination of French school and other methods, so Sylvia woods Folk methods may not apply, as far as I know): the position of the fourth finger on the string may be what is hindering you.the 4th has to be slightly extended along the string length so that it is almost straight, this will give it room on the horizontal plane to move in and out without striking neighbouring strings. Try bringing it into the palm straight, as you said, by bending the first knuckle and let the tip of the finger lay against the palm gently,don’t press it and don’t point it inwards. you will find that it gets back into position faster and smoother if it does not have to unfurl